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University of California, Davis Office of Student Judicial Affairs

Avoiding PLAGIARISM
Mastering the Art of Scholarship

In writing, we draw upon others’ words and ideas and the intellectual heritage underlying
human progress. Scholarship entails researching, understanding, and building upon the
work of others, but also requires that proper credit be given for any “borrowed” material.
Under our Code of Academic Conduct, UC Davis students are responsible for ethical
scholarship, and for knowing what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

What is plagiarism? Why be concerned about plagiarism?


Plagiarism means using another’s work without * If you plagiarize, you are cheating yourself. You don’t
giving credit. If you use others’ words, you must learn to write out your thoughts in your own words, and
put them in quotation marks and cite your source. you won’t receive specific feedback from your instructor
You must also give citations when using others’ geared to your individual needs and skills.
ideas, even if you have paraphrased those ideas in * Plagiarism is dishonest and/or misleading, because it
your own words. misrepresents the work of another as your own.
“Work” includes the words and ideas of others, as well * Plagiarism violates the Code of Academic Conduct
as art, graphics, computer programs, music, and other and can lead to Suspension or Dismissal.
creative expression. The work may consist of writing,
charts, data, graphs, pictures, diagrams, websites, * Plagiarism devalues others’ original work. Using and
movies, TV broadcasts, or other communication submitting a professional’s work as your own is taking
media. an unfair advantage over students who do their own
work.
The term “source” includes published works -- books,
magazines, newspapers, textbooks, websites, movies, * It is wrong to take or use property (an author’s work)
photos, paintings, plays -- and unpublished sources without giving the owner the credit due. Further,
(e.g., materials from a research service, blogs, class copyright violations can result in damages, fines, or
handouts, lectures, notes, speeches, or other students’ worse.
papers). Using words, ideas, computer code, or any
* The reputation of UC Davis affects the value of your
work without giving proper credit is plagiarism. Any
degree; student dishonesty hurts UCD’s standing and
time you use information from a source, of any kind,
can diminish the worth of your diploma.
you must cite it.

How to Cite Sources


One citation method is to identify the source in the text, putting the author’s last name and publication year in
parenthesis and giving the page number where the cited information appears. (Hacker, 2003, p. 391). The author’s
name links the reader to a list at the end of the paper giving full publishing information. Example:
Sources Cited:
Hacker, D., A Writer’s Reference, 5th Ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press 2003) pp. 391-2.

Two other methods are footnotes and endnotes, which use raised numbers at the end of an idea or quoted words to link
the reader to the source which is given either at the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the paper (endnote).
For all three methods, you must include the source in a reference list at the end of the paper, fully identifying each
source by author’s name, title, publisher’s name, year of publication, and page numbers. Citations to electronic
resources such as websites should include the exact URL, the date last revised, and any available information about the
writer, publisher and/or creator of the site.
Resources on citation include:
• MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed., J. Gibaldi (Modern Language Assn. 2003)
• Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Ed., American Psychological Association (2001)
• UC Berkeley Teaching Library Internet Workshops “Style Sheets for Citing Resources (Print & Electronic)”
at http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Style.html
How can you avoid plagiarism? Examples
Know what plagiarism is: ignorance will not excuse a Citing a source for factual information:
violation. Intentional plagiarism, such as deliberate In describing the personal circumstances and political beliefs of author
copying or use of another’s work without credit, George Orwell at the time he wrote his greatest novel, 1984, I have relied
submitting a paper from the Internet as one’s own, or upon the factual account given in Gordon Bowker’s biography Inside
altering or falsifying citations to hide sources is very George Orwell.”
serious, likely to result in Suspension. Unintentional Here the source is identified in the text, and page citations for any
plagiarism may result from not knowing how to cite quotes or ideas can be given at the end of the material used.
sources properly, sloppy research and note-taking, or Additional citations to the source, with page numbers, are required
careless cutting and pasting from electronic resources to reference facts or quotations used later in the paper.
– it is still a violation of the Code of Academic Conduct
and subject to discipline. Paraphrase vs. Plagiarism

Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism1 Original Source: ‘[A totalitarian] society … can never permit either
the truthful recording of facts, or the emotional sincerity, that
* Use your own words and ideas. Practice is essential to literary creation demands. … Totalitarianism demands … the
learning. Each time you choose your words, order continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run … a disbelief
your thoughts, and convey your ideas, you can in the very existence of objective truth.’ 3
improve your writing.
Student Version A -- Plagiarism
* Give credit for copied, adapted, or paraphrased A totalitarian society can never permit the truthful recording of facts;
material. If you copy and use another’s exact it demands the continuous alteration of the past, and a disbelief in the
words, you must use quotation marks and cite the very existence of objective truth.
source. If you adapt a chart or paraphrase a
This is plagiarism; the student has combined copied pieces of the
sentence, you must still cite your source.
author’s language, without quotation marks or citations.
Paraphrasing is restating the author’s ideas,
information, and meaning in your own words (see Student Version B -- Improper paraphrase, also plagiarism
examples). A totalitarian society can’t be open-minded or allow the truthful
* Avoid using others work with minor “cosmetic” recording of facts, but instead demands the constant changing of the
c h a n g e s . Examples: using “less” for “fewer,” past and a distrust of the very existence of objective truth. (Orwell)
reversing the order of a sentence, changing terms in This is plagiarism because the student has woven together sentences
a computer code, or altering a spreadsheet layout. If and switched a few words (“open-minded” for “tolerant,” “allow”
the work is essentially the same as your source, give for “permit”) has left out some words, and has given an incomplete
credit. and inaccurate citation.
* There are no “freebies.” Always cite words,
Student Version C -- Appropriate paraphrase, not plagiarism
information and ideas that you use if they are new to
you (learned in your research). No matter where Orwell believed that totalitarian societies must suppress literature
you find it – even in on the Internet or in an and free expression because they cannot survive the truth, and thus
encyclopedia – you cite it! they claim it does not exist. (Bowker) pp. 336-337

* Beware of “common knowledge.” You may not have This student has paraphrased using her own words, accurately
to cite “common knowledge,” but the fact must reflecting and citing the author’s ideas.
really be commonly known. That George Orwell Student Version D -- Quotation with cite, not plagiarism
was the author of the anti-totalitarian allegory In his biography of George Orwell, Gordon Bowker discusses the
Animal Farm is common knowledge; that Orwell themes of 1984, quoting a 1946 essay by Orwell: “’Totalitarianism
died at age 46 in 1951 is not.2 demands … the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run
* When in doubt, cite. Better to be safe than not give … a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.’” (Bowker p.
credit when you should! 337, quoting Orwell, 1946)
1
See Henderickson, R.J., The Research Paper (Henry Holt and By introducing his source, the student signals that the following
Company, 1957, xiv-xv; McGill University “Student Guide to material is from that source. Verbatim words are in quotation
Avoid Plagiarism,” last updated 8/22/06 marks, omitted words are marked by ellipses (…), and both the
http://www.mcgill.ca/integrity/studentguide/ book used and the original source of the quote are cited.
2 3
Bowker, G., Inside George Orwell (Palgrave MacMillan 2003) Bowker p. 337, quoting Orwell, G., “The Prevention of Literature,” Polemic, No.
p. 420 2, January 1946

Getting Help: Read the syllabus and assignment; ask your instructor how to cite sources; and carefully check class rules on citation
format. Use resources such as Brenda Spatt’s Writing from Sources (Bedford, Freeman & Worth 2003) and Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference,
cited above. In addition, contact the UC Davis Learning Skills Center at 530-752-2013 http://www.lsc.ucdavis.edu/ For questions contact
Student Judicial Affairs, (530) 752-1128 or visit http://sja.ucdavis.edu
UC Davis, Div. of Student Affairs, Office of Student Judicial Affairs, September 2006